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The Day My Daughter and I Were Followed

This blog post is in response to the incident that recently happened in southeast Edmond to a local woman.  A man followed her, knew her routines, broke into her home and was thankfully caught by her husband before the man caught her.  We are often jaded that we live in a safe and harmless world.  We need to be careful, especially with our children in tow.  Here is my story in hopes that it can help protect someone.

WomenSafetyTipsI still remember that day.  It was a beautiful December afternoon and we were giddy with excitement that Christmas was right around the corner.  We were off to Grandma’s house in a few short days and wanted to prepare for our car trip – so a library stop was planned for that Sunday afternoon.  My husband had gotten up early that morning and went to work on a rental house we have, so we went to have lunch with my parents at their home and he was done by the time we finished.  We stopped by to pick him up and off to the library we went so we could stock up on movies and books. My daughter and I scurried inside to pick out a few items and left my husband and son in the car.  People were going in and out, but I didn’t notice anyone specific.

It was a world record time of picking out books for my daughter.  We walked outside, skipping on our way back to our car since it was chilly. “Brrrr!” I said to my daughter.  She laughed and repeated me, “Brrrr, Mommy!”

We got to the van and I opened her sliding door, noticing my husband had dozed off in the front seat.  I was buckling her in, trying to be quiet since my son was also asleep, when the hairs on my neck stood up and I turned around.  The man was a short median’s length away from me, with blue eyes and holding a brown paper bag. I didn’t know what to say since I could tell he wasn’t casually passing, so I looked right into his eyes and said, “Hi. Can I help you?”  in my best do-not-get-any-closer-to-me voice that I could manage.

He stopped in his tracks – which solidified that I was his target. He said hi back and then followed with the words that will haunt me forever. “I was wondering if you wanted some company back to your house.”  I looked at him like he’d lost his head and I said, “NO. My husband is here.”  To which he replied, “Yes, and your children.” I frantically looked at my husband who was trying to figure out what was going on when the man turned and walked back to where he was apparently standing before; on the sidewalk by the entrance.

Okay, stop right there.  This guy followed me and my then 4 year old, noticing that I was with my kids, and still approached me.  Are you kidding me!?

We immediately called the Edmond police and they were there in the matter of seconds.  They couldn’t arrest him since there was no type of assault, just an invasion of my security bubble that I no longer had. I thought I lived in relatively safe area.  It wasn’t the “wrong side of the tracks” and it was in the middle of a bright, sunny day.

I posted on Facebook my account of what happened and found out this same man wandered to the near-by Walmart and tried to get in a car with two other females.  It was then my story was highlighted by Channel 4 News and I found more information about him.  He was mentally unstable, but to me, that didn’t forgive the fact that he wasn’t getting the help he needed and was approaching women, with shameful intents.

For days following, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I no longer felt safe.  I wanted to hide and I definitely wasn’t going anywhere in public by myself.   My husband was extra supportive and didn’t mention anything when he saw tears just rolling down my face. Even now, just writing it all, brings back an ache in my heart of what could have happened that day.  What if I didn’t turn around when I did?  What if my husband hadn’t been there?  What if the man was more aggressive? God forbid, what if he had touched my daughter?

Cat Self-defense Keychain goes with me everywhere.

Cat Self-Defense Keychain goes with me everywhere.

I don’t take lightly the safety of my kids, myself, or my family as a whole.  Since that day, my husband has bought me a Cat Self-Defense Keychain and I carry it with me everywhere.  It is my security that when I’m out, I literally have it in my hands, ready just in case some other person remotely thinks I’m an easy target.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been back to the library except to do the quick drop-off from the items we borrowed that day.  I love and miss the library but there is something holding me back. I’m not mad at the library; it could happen any where, any time, any day.  I might be a paranoid mama, but for now, that paranoia is helping me re-establish my security.

Here are some tips for safety:

  • Put your cell phone away, but have it close by when you are out.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you are with your children.  Survey the area to see who is loitering and make note of them.
  • Lock your doors, even when you are home.  Often I am home alone with my kids and leave multiple doors unlocked.  Keep them shut and locked.  This includes windows.
  • Get a security system and/or motion lights for outside.
  • Get to know your neighbors.  Our neighbors are the best – they are our back up security system.  They know my and my husbands routines and can tell you when something doesn’t seem right.
  • Go into your house before your children.  Turn on lights right away.  Find the family pet and see if they are acting different or weird.  They usually are a great indicator if something feels out of place.
  • Use your “mommy sense”.  God gave us a wonderful ability to have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to protecting our children.  Use it.  If something doesn’t feel right, get help immediately.
  • Always lock your car.  If you are out late at night, look in all windows and turn on lights before entering.
  • Put as much privacy as you can on your social media outlets.
  • Sign up for a self-defense class. You can be your biggest protection.
  • Change up your routines every once in awhile.
  • Don’t tell strangers any personal information about you or your children.
  • Run/walk with a friend, especially early morning or late night

My story ended with no one getting hurt and thankfully so.  Others are not so lucky and have more intense experiences than mine.  As moms, as women, we need to watch out for each other, reminding ourselves to be aware at all times.

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5 Responses to The Day My Daughter and I Were Followed

  1. Avatar
    Allison Cassady February 6, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    Holy smokes, Erin. So glad you and your family were safe. These are great tips and I am definitely checking out the keychain.

    • Avatar
      Erin Cornell February 6, 2015 at 8:43 am #

      I was totally thinking about this the other day – so glad that you and I were together on the trail.

  2. Avatar
    Techemical February 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    Ugh. Years ago, I was followed while 8 months pregnant. Had an intense craving for quiche and went to the supermarket at 7 am alone. I made eye contact with a tall, clearly homeless man in the dairy section, smiled, and said excuse me. He followed me through the store from that moment on. I’m talking three feet behind me for 30 minutes. I walked to the front of the store, where a cashier confronted the man and asked what he was doing following a pregnant teenager. He smiled and said he was looking for batteries. My boyfriend’s friend happened to be in the check out lane. He walked me to my car, the man following us out. He stood at the entrance and watched me drive away. One of the strangest situations I have ever experienced. I was on edge for weeks.

  3. Avatar
    Amy February 9, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    Thanks for sharing your story Erin!

  4. Avatar
    Lisa March 7, 2019 at 2:54 pm #

    I was chased by a homeless man once with my four and two year old in tow. I lost my library card because I couldn’t get to my car quick enough. That was in Shawnee. Then outside another branch (because I was too freaked to go to that one again) I was approached by a drunk man at dusk (6 pm) He knocked on my car door window several times and I threw it into gear and got out of there. I had my 6 month old baby at the time. I’ve since given the library another try, but I park in a very specific place and only go in the early morning.

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